This time annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas has come into a lot of limelight due to its controversial Homeless Hotspots campaign.
The initiative involves homeless people offering conference attendees wireless Internet access. Throughout the conference, there are homeless participants who are placed wearing t-shirts that say “I’m ________, a 4G hotspot”.
The connection can be accessed by making a paypal donation where the amount will be directly given to the individual seller. The campaign is an attempt to mimic programs that show homeless people selling newspapers on streets.
This project is initiated by the marketing firm BBH New York and Front Steps.
Despite a good motive, social media sites burst with criticism of the campaign.
“As if the homeless aren’t dehumanized enough, they are now being used as Wi-Fi hotspots at South by Southwest,” journalist Saleem Khan tweeted.
“This seems to be going a bit too far, do you think?” tweeted William R. Helms.
To be honest, I cannot judge whether the campaign is morally correct or not, but certainly has been able to generate a lot of publicity and maybe some money for the homeless people as well.